Feeds

Pesticides fingered in UK honeybee wipeout

Further suspicion falls on neonicotinoids

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A new study appears to have confirmed suspicions that the neonicotinoid group of pesticides is in part responsible for the dramatic decline in UK honeybee numbers, the Telegraph reports.

Insect research charity Buglife and the Soil Association "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of research" which demonstrate that neonicotinoids "damage the health and life cycle of bees over the long term by affecting the nervous system".

Previous scientific tests suggested a possible link between one of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, and disruption of honeybees' "sophisticated communication and navigation systems". Fears over the chemical earlier this year prompted the Co-op to ban the use of all neonicotinoids on its 70,000 acres of land in in England and Scotland, "until they are shown to be safe".

Germany, Italy and Slovenia last year similarly banned all neonicotinoids in response to the honeybee crisis, while French farmers have not been able to deploy imidacloprid as a sunflower seed-dressing for ten years.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife chief exec, said: “Other countries have already introduced bans to prevent neonicotinoids from harming bees. This is the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence yet and it has revealed the disturbing amount of damage these poisons can cause."

Peter Melchett, director of the Soil Association, added: “The UK is notorious for taking the most relaxed approach to pesticide safety in the EU. Buglife’s report shows that this puts at risk pollination services vital for UK agriculture."

However, Dr Julian Little of Bayer CropScience - which manufacturers oilseed rape insecticide Chinook, containing imidacloprid - said that pesticides are "not approved unless it is found they have no effects on insects like bees".

He insisted: "When it comes to bee health, pesticides are not the problem, disease is."

Whether Dr Little is right remains to be seen. The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs' initial findings as to the cause of honeybee population collapse suggested "the possible implication of abnormally wet weather - which may have hindered the bees' ability to collect enough food to survive the winter - coupled with the single-celled fungus Nosema, which might have taken advantage of the insects' rain-induced confinement and stressed state to spread with deadly effect", as we put it back in January. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.